Vanstone welcomes Quassey's jailing

The Age (online version)
December 28, 2003 - 12:05PM

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone welcomed the jailing of people smuggler Abu Quassey, saying it must bring some comfort to the families of the 353 boatpeople who drowned on their way to Australia.

Quassey, also known as Moataz Attiya Mohamed Hassan, was found guilty of manslaughter for organising the ill-fated voyage of Siev X, which sunk on its way to Australia in October 2001, killing 353 asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Iraq.

A Cairo court on Friday sentenced Quassey to five years in jail for homicide through negligence and another two for aiding illegal migration.

'I think it's tremendous and the families of the 353 people must be very happy,' Senator Vanstone said.

'Accidents happen but negligence, criminal negligence, it would be very hard to live with.

'The families must feel at least some justice has been done, that gives them some comfort.'

Senator Vanstone said Quassey's jailing proved people smugglers would be caught, no matter where they came from.

'It doesn't matter where you come from, if you get caught people smuggling, shifting people illegally from one part of the world to another, it's a fair bet you will be dealt with and you'll be put in jail for a long period of time,' Senator Vanstone said.

The federal government sought in April to extradite Quassey to Australia to answer people smuggling charges following his deportation from Indonesia to Egypt.

Senator Vanstone said there were no immediate plans to pursue an extradition following his jail sentence.

'We can look at what else might be done but right now let's be happy this is done,' she said.

2003 AAP

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